Although I do have sales in my background, like a lot of people, I wasn’t a huge fan of selling. And when it came to my art I had so many insecurities that it made selling it even that much harder.
All sales gurus talk about following up before and after the sale. What do you talk about? What do you say? It really sucked until I stumbled upon a new philosophy [and book] called, Appreciation Marketing.
The philosophy is simple, tell people that you appreciate them. Preferably via cards, hand written notes, phone calls, and e-mails.
Meet someone at a mixer? Send a note or an e-mail expressing your appreciation in meeting them. Client hires you? Send them a thank you card. It’s so simple you’re probably thinking it doesn’t work, and THAT’S where you’d be wrong.
Why does it work? First, look at your own life. How many thank you cards have you received in the mail in the last 60 days? Have you given another artist work? How many gift cards have you received from those artists in the last year? The biggest reason why this works is because almost no one does it! The second reason why this strategy is so effective is because of the reciprocity that’s involved. When you give to someone, on some level they want to give back to you.
So how can you start your own appreciation strategy?
1. Get into the habit (if you don’t already) of collecting addresses from your clients and people in your network.
2. Whenever you get work or someone does something for you, send a greeting card or a hand written note to them. If you do not have their mailing address call them or send an e-mail but use e-mail as last resort.
3. At least once a month send a gift. Food is my favorite thing to send. People enjoy gettingcards and notes but they will go gaga for food.
Once you start sending notes, cards, and gifts every month your e-mail will start to get a bevy of new traffic from those recipients showing gratitudeback. I have a ton of stories about people who had a bad day, or something negative happened, and when they read my card it lit up the rest of their day.
So you’re thinking… Adam, I can’t afford sending Hallmarks every day, aren’t they like $4 a card? Probably, but I don’t spend that much on a card or note. If you want to be frugal go to Michaels or Hobby Lobby, download a 40% off coupon from their website with your smart phone, and buy a pack of 50 envelopes and cards for like $12 and buy two books of stamps from your grocery store or postal service.
And what about gifts? I generally send $5 or $10 Starbucks gift cards. I also like sending small packages of brownies and cookies and they’re usually in the $10-15 range.
I currently use a service called Send Out Cards for my cards and gifts but there other options online and you can use Amazon or just about any vendor to send gifts.
If you run out of “thank you’s” to send, check social media. If you’re connected with your clients on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. people post what’s going on in their lives all the time. You can send cards when your clients get married, buys a house, get promoted, etc. The more aggressively you approach this reciprocation you will get back.
And don’t be surprised when you do this that you make the world a better place.